tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC November 13, 2015 4:00pm-5:01pm PST
grieve for many american losses of life tonight. thank you so much for sharing your reporting. we are now joined by evan coleman, a veteran global expert on terrorist groups. we've been speaking way too frequently recently, with the attack in brueirut and about th. >> we already have isis members suspected to be inside syria who have gone on twitter and crowing about how well coordinated and planned this attack was, but we don't know whether or not they're simply saying this in terms of grotesque simply or something we're going to find out about. i don't think it's any surprise that isis is a major culprit. we still don't know, if you look back at the attacks, we still
don't know the extent to which those attacks actually involved eye says or carried out by -- individuals who rub radicalized, or who had made contact with a variety of groups and simply decided to, you know, attack or decided to act on their own based on what they saw in terms of propaganda, based on general precepts they had been given. i think it's important to state this, there's a large number of radicalized individuals in france. there's a comparatively large number of french nationals who have gone to syria and other conflicts to fight. that is part of the problem here, that these individuals, whether or not they're doing it on because of of aqap or al qaeda in yemen, it doesn't matter. it's pretty much the same cause. there's been a drumbeat the last few years leading up to this. even the attacks in january, the "charlie hebdo" attacks, there have been numerous other
instances others who trained in syria and loyal to isis and others came back from the conflicts and attempted to -- or did carry out acts of violence in france. previously these were pinpricks. it's something that french authorities take very seriously, but it's extremely disturbing when you see something on this scale in a country that, you know, believe itselves to be fairly protected or fairly well guard guarded. we've seen multiple instances, and it's not even counting the failed attack on the train that was thwarted by the three americans just a few weeks ago. >> while you've been talking, we changed the graphic. there are two different news aerkts recording that there was in fablg, as we suspected, a raid on the music venue tonight. both news agencies are reporting
the death of two terrorists inside. i suspect that is going to turn out to be a low number, and both are reporting that the operation to storm the music venue is over. i hesitate to find out what they will discover inside the music venue. evanity, a couple things here, that conjures the image of what happened to us on 9/11, to use the nomenclature of your industry, a spectacular event. this is, again, another reminder that a -- you'll forgive the phrase low-tech effort with ak-47s, crude nail-filled bombs on humans willing to wear them to sacrifice their own lives, can take so many lives and terrorize in a few hours' time
one of the great cities in the world. >> yeah. look, if you look at 9/11, the amount of planning that that took and the amount of good fortune those guys had to pull off something like that, it's very rare, but it's a lot easier to do something like this. if you look at what happened, at least the details we know right now, there's no single detail here that proves that these individuals, if they were terrorists, assuming they are, that these individuals did this with the coordination of any terrorist group. there's no objective evident to that effect. everything we have seen them do here is something that a well-organized group of individuals could have done. people simply motivated, sympathizers with these groups. i think that's part of the problem. isis understands that well, better than al qaeda. isis has made it a mission to public people to do things like this on their own, on a small scale, even without direct contact with a group, and it is
very effective. they're not finding millions of people sympathetic to these crazy ideas. they're not even finding thousands, but they're finding hundreds. these people are spread out all over, speaking different lange wajts, all sorts of different resources to contribute, and that's the problem. it's difficult to predict, because they're coming out of the woodwork, even if seen by security services, there was nothing to indicate they were imminently planning a -- the key currency that allows us to detect what's going on, is missing. >> and evan, one final question. i'm told richard engel is with you problemisaroxysms, as each
was stopped and frisked and wanded for weapons or explosive. it was just baked into daily life. first time i had seen it that way, wondering, is this going to spread around the world? is this going to be normal life in big cities around the planet? here we have a situation in paris where people obviously insist on traveling freely, and walking in and out of cafes and bars and restaurants, and this moving target, this line over the freedoms we are willing to give up, and then something like this happens. >> look, there's sort of a precedent for this in france. back in 1995, there were a series of metro bombings carried out by the armed islamic group in algeria, and as a result there was a strict security program, and they succeeded.
but -- and this is a big but. the paris metro bombings were not even close to this scale, they weren't even close to this scale. the people that carried out those attacks were in my opinion anyway far less sophisticated than the people who dreamed up this attack. they were simple bam us that killed a few people at a time. it didn't kill dozens. that changes the calculus. whether or not french authorities are truly capable of meeting this, it's the same question about authorities here. we've been fortunate so far. there's been a relatively small number of americans going to fight in syria. even less have survived to come back to the united states. that goes for a variety of different conflicts, but look, it only takes a few of these guys and a few people to be radicalized. we've seen that already. people were not able to get to syria or afghanistan, nonetheless were able to shoot and kill people in their own community for abstract reasons.
hopefully that does not have an impact on or liberties. it hasn't so far. in france i can guarantee there will be very serious questions about what procedures need to be taken to guarantee security. my guess is they're going to lean heavily on providing security and not necessarily towards guarantees individual liberties. >> i sadly think you're absolutely right, evan. thank you very much. we're going to go back to laura haim, our colleague who is a french journalist covering the without here for a french news network. laura, what have you been able to learned? >> i just learned the reaction of the french president hollande, he was evacuated after the explosion outside the stadium. he went on tv midnight, and he had a meeting with his entire cabinet, and he declared something which has never been done in france in my memory, but
i might be wrong. there's now a state of emergency in france. the french president has declared that all borders are closed. he came on tv and he said i don't want anyone to go outside of france. i don't want anyone to come to france at this moment, so at this moment there's a state of emergency in the country with the borders, which have been closed, which is in my again memory unprecedented. then the other thing the ongoing situation in paris. the police people want to understand precisely what happened outside the stadium. again it was a big soccer game. it was one of the most important soccer games of the season, with the french president inside the stadium. it was -- we thought at the beginning, and the police told us that there were two suicide
bombers. it might have been only one suicide bomber, but three different explosions outside the stadium around 9:30 local time. then after you have another group of people who were not suicide bombers who opened fire in a district of paris, which is the tenth arrondissement, and there were between four and five attacks in the same district. the gunmen went to the bataclan, a very famous musical theater in paris, which is 300 meters away from "charlie hebdo." i think the symbol is there, and then according to some witnesses inside the bataclan, they began to execute hostages, people who came to the concert. it was an american concert. there were hundreds of people inside the music hall, and then police one hour ago began to
launch a raid against those gunmen. two to three people were killed. we just have to wait before to confirm everything. >> laura, we've been seeing while you've been talking pictures of president hollande with his cabinet. is there the equivalent in the palace of a situation room at the white house? >> yes, there is. it's a kind of bunker. again people were with the president hollande today, and they were about to follow him inside -- and francois hollande tried to manage the situation as he did during "charlie hebdo." i mean, as a french and also an american citizen, it is absolutely devastating to see what's happening in your country at this moment. the french president has to be a
frenchman, but he also had to be a president, and he was a president by coming very soon on tv, which is usually not the case, and telling to the french people this is horror in france, stay quiet, i'm going to try to manage the situation. >> a very good point. the french president went on television while this was still unfolding, because you heard laura theorize from experience it was important as a calming mechanism to the citizens of his country. thanks again to laura haim for sharing all of this with us. i'm now told mike at lig-- mich leiter, former head of the entire anti-terrorism -- bush and obama. michael, what are you looking for and what have you learned? >> brian, i think a cup 8
things. first, it is really striking the sophistication of these attacks. we haven't seen anything like this in an urban center since probably the mumbai attacks in 2008 in india. to be able to launch this with this degree of coordination and multiple sites in a western capital is really shocking. i think second, the fact that at least for now there were no prior warnings of this sophisticated attack, it wouldn't be surprising for me if it weren't warning one gunman in one place. that can fall under the radar, but this required some communication, significant planning, and for no western intelligence organization, at least at this point, to have had any warning is really disturbing. the last i would say is, although there are no specific attacks anywhere else, i think people should expect to see elevated defenses in places like new york, washington, london.
that really is out of precaution, because now that authorities have been so surprised and shocked in paris, they have to be ready for something else even if they don't see it. >> michael, let me play devil's advocate, and say this. how could even the best mechanic temple pick up some that apparently is so low tech and so organic meaning a very basic nail-filled explosive device carried by someone who thinking nothing of endic their own life being the delivery system and ak-47s, guys get out of cars and enter restaurants firing. that's hard to infiltration at the root level. >> it is when it's one, maybe two, even three people. you can do that in small groups. listen, unfortunately we have
seen that in the u.s., not just with terrorism, but obviously with tragic school shootings, we've seen it in workplace violence, so of course these things can stay under the radar. but when you have what is being reported as four different sites and weapons and explosive devices, i think this requires a degree of coordination which obviously did go under the radar, but i think that is going to throw officials a bit. things will get past, but the goal of terrific is likely a large -- this is not a one-person job. this is a multiple-person job planning for some time. we don't know lots about this. the next 48 hours will be filled with further facts. i expect as i've said, further
defenses in lots of places. i expect the french authorities will also probably go and arrest numerous people, just to try to get more data, but what we see now is really a level of sophistication that we haven't seen out of isis or even clade for any sore out of five-plus years. it's interesting that you're cal this a level of sophisticati sophistication, i guess based on the kind of per verse success they have had in thwarting detects and thwarting officials and the death toll we have seen increase all night. >> brian, just the numbers and the multiple targets, that is the sophistication. yeah, it's still simple tools, but it's a level of coordinated timing, which we really haven't seen, again, since what we saw in mumbai in 2008 or the london bombings in 2007 with multiwall
ieds being used. facts may change, but initials reports put it much more in that category to me. >> michael leiter, thank you. sadly we're going back to laura haim. i say sadly, because i'm told you have some awful new assessments of what's happened. >> yes, my channel is reporting at this moment that there are probably 100 dead people at the bataclan inside this musical theater. the bataclan was completely full. it's a theater with more than 1,000 seats, 1500 seats. it's a very famous music hall in paris. people were coming to see an american rock band from california, and again, according to my colleagues, were on site. the police is discovering at
this moment 100 dead people. we don't know if those people were killed during the attack, or if they were killed during the raid that the police forces launched against the gunmen inside the bataclan. another information is the french president according to my channel is going at this moment to the bataclan, and we'll probably see fran saw hollande. it's a little more than 1:00 in paris. at this moment everyone is awake, and watching with horror what's happen, and president hollande is on his way to the bataclan. >> what a terrible tragedy. we with only pray that somehow the numbers of somehow wrong. laura haim reporting from her colleagues, over 100 dead at this musical venue tonight. they were all there to see an american group out of -- originally out of palm desert,
california, eagles of death metal, which is everything but a metal band. kind of an ironic title. big following in this country, and we're of course thinking of them and their loved ones. other chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mvple is here in the studio. this is tough to take. >> this is tough to take. you were talking about access to restaurants and entertainment. paris of all cities, a city of cafes. this is not a city of metal detect orrs. the u.s. embassy trying to account for citizens, but people don't register here. you go to baghdad or kabul, you register with the embassy. there's no census of tourist people going to museums or doing business who might happen to be in paris. the embassy is scram bling.
they have an emergency number for people to call in to let them know they are safe, so we begin to find out are there american hostages or casualties? interesting tonight the president said he had no talked to president hollande, he didn't want to bother him. that tracks with what i'm told with our intelligence, the french are still in response mode, closing the borders, as laura said, unprecedented response mechanisms here. as they try to defend themselves and deal with this emergency, the president is not going to bother his colleague whom he spoke with earlier today to talk about what would be not routine, but a g-20 summit where they would be discussion the crisis as well as economic issues stemming from this flow.
we are sheer. hollande will not go to turkey, but send the foreign minister, secretary kerry in vienna is putting out a call, saying that the embassy is doing what it can. it's trying to estimate whether americans are at stake, and he is meeting tomorrow with 19 fellow leaders to talk about the syrian civil war, the isis crisis, and to try to begin finding a diplomatic solution. as michael leiter was saying, they're looking as intercepts, did they miss a threat. homeland security is saying there's no direct threat that he know of to the american homeland. i have to tell you, i have never seen a situation where american intelligence is as flummoxed as
they are now. 25 minutes after 9/11 they were saying this is al qaeda, osama bin laden. now there's a new capacity, and also with the beirut bombings, they don't know if al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, al qaeda centering or isis is the predominant threat for this kind of coordinated attack. >> michael leiter, if you were mayor of new york city or police commissioner, what would you do right for you on a night like tonight? >>. >> brian, the one piece of good news is it would all be precautionary, but the other people of good any, bill bratton is as experienced as we have. what he will do is he will activate some of their counter-terrorism units who are relatively heavily very agile. they'll probably go to penn
state, times square. they sently want that presence, to put people at ease, and also be the eyes and ears. they also will be working very closely with their national counterparts at the fbi and joint terrorism task force to see if there's anything at all that points to a nexus beyond paris. again, no indication of that, but in new york and washington, no one can take any risks. it will be precautionary, and 2r50u68ly organization have officers in paris, so they're going to be talking to their officer there who will work closely with the federal police in paris. this will be an international effort on a number of fronts, not just at the federal level, but also city to city. >> michael leiter, thanks. andrea mitchell, we should point out the fact that the nypd does have officers in paris, london, was born out of their own survival and their frustration that post-9/11 funding was
disbursed in initially absent concerns about population. it was kind of given out. >> in fact the nypd has second only to the cia and other intelligence agencies in washington, the most sophisticated counter-terrorism operation, really built by ray kelly, chief bratton's predecessor. you can imagine it's also branching out around the consequence las here in new york and around the the country other french institutions and other institutions that have previously been threatened by these terrorists. so you can understand the obvious targets they might be wanting to simply protectively preventively station forces around. it is bottom of our screen, the awful news, and if you have
the ability to read french, you saw the graphic on pars saying the same thing, the report that 100 people, there did abouts have been killed inside this music venue. laura haim remains with us. she's been updating our reporting from what she's hearing from her home network in paris. what more can you add this. >> i can tell you the scene inside is absolutely devastating, according to some police officials who went inside after the raid. there are at least 100 dead bodies, i'm saying again what a source just told me, at least 100 dead bodies, and most of those people have been killed by grenades and also by bullets, but most the the people, according to my source have been
killed by grenade. we don't know until which circumstances it happened. some of the people escaped. a group of 15 people escaped by hiding inside a a technical -- they completely traumatized, as you can imagine. and what my source told me which i think is interesting, it's the level of sophistication of this attack. because it has three dimensions. the first was suicide attacks outside the stadium of france, and then after you had the group of men who went to the streets in paris, used ka lait was extr
well planned, according to my sources inside the bataclan, we don't no how many gunmen there were inside the bataclan and we don't know if they're the same as the ones who began to go to the restaurant between 9:30 and 10:30 local time in paris. i'm told you heard the raid start? >> that's right. it was about an hour ago. i had been outside the bataclan since shortly after the whole incident started.
we were about 100 meters away, behind police lines. then about an hour ago, all of a sudden a couple single shots, then some automatic weapons fired, it sounded like, then a series of explosions. all of this we could hear, but not see the front of the theater from where the police have us right now. >> have you been to the bataclan as a paying customer? >> i have many times. this is going down in my neighborhood. i've been at the strahan and the bar that were attacked and the bataclan many times. just unbelievable. >> a bunch of us are used to venues like it in new york and los angeles, but what do you reckon the capacity is? >> it's a few hundred, a bar,
there's a small stage for, you know, a couple hundred people to watch a band and then a bar in the back of the room. >> tonight was just a sold-out is it american visiting bad? we heard the lines were gathering about 8:00 or 9:00 before the show, and if you're a terrorist looking for what they call soft targets, i guess it was -- i guess it met that category. >> yes, yes. what a tragedy. greg, thank you very much for being with us. >> caller: you're welcome. >> apparently we still have richard engel, who shall able to listen in to our coverage from istanb istanbul. sadly coverage of terrorism has
made up much of your professional life. what stands out to you listening to this coverage so far tonight? >> a lot of your guests have been talking about the sophistication, i think, as you have probing the guests, you should not look at this as just an attack carried out by a few people with some weapons and some homemade bombs and grenades. this is a kind of attack that requires people who are incredibly disciplined, who are disciplined in their communication. >> intelligence agencies have become very expert at nfl trading groups like this, at planten informants inside, that no meet, organize, arm themselves. i think will raise questions.
the leaning is al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, not necessarily isis, because they think it's too advanced for a group like isis, but then they say it could be isis and point to the fact that you have a rivalry between the organizations right now. isis has been taking up a lot of the world's attention. it has been claiming responsibility for high-profile attacks. it drew the united states into a war drew u.s. troop back into iraq. recently learned that u.s. ground troops are heading back and now in tifrts in syria. so al qaeda has every motive in the world to prove it's still
relevant, capable, otherwise it loses its pool of recruits, and the fact i have this rivalry between two dangerous organizations is an incredibly troubling situation. that's what i've been able to hear. officials are also not sure how long it will take before we find out who did it, but they stress if this was isis, that it would be a new phase of the moon for isis, that it would be very significant, because it would show isis with project power well beyond sharm el sheikh, syria or iraq, areas that it considers part of its caliphate, but can strike in the heart of europe. if it were al qaeda, it's a result of this rivalry with al qaeda trying to move that it's still relevant after the death of osama bin laden and after the rise of isis. >> richard, the other hallmarks of this, the almost organic l
low-tech nature, people willing to give their lives as a delivery system. as our graphic at the bottom of the, kalashnikov rifles, people willing to walk into a restaurant and start firing. >> reporter: low-tech weapons perhaps, but it's not easy to find ak-47s in paris, not easy to find grenades and for the easy to carry out attack without multiple cells without word getting out and your organization being infiltrated. people talked about the mumbai attack. that was sophisticated. they had a plan. we talked about it on air. it was low-tech, but almost commando style military assault moving through the train
station, going to the hotel. i think that's what we have seen today in paris, a dedicated group of militants who arm themselves to the most sophisticated degree they could, and then carried out a very almost military style assault in one of the world's great capitals. >> richard, thank you, we'll be coming back to you. we've been showing a live street scene. we could say with any accuracy exactly what it is we are looking at except the personnel in the foreground appear to be french military. we saw earlier picture of french military coming into paris in striking fashion, what looked like old military deuce and a half trucks with canvas roofs on them, troop carriers, as you would see in wartime, some would say a perfect phrase to describe the times we're in right now, especially given the nice
they've had in paris. we do know that president hollande is planning to visit the music venue where apparently -- and the graphic keeps say on french television 100 dead in paris at that one venue. sam champion of the weather channel was there tonight with former vice president al gore, who is fine, is safe, and is surrounded by security folks. sam, tell the folks again, who haven't been watching our coverage, what you were there for, and describe the streets behind you 1:30 a.m. local time now. >> yeah, brian, it's dead. 1:30 in the morning, it's absolutely dead. haven't seen anything move that didn't have a flashing light all the way through the area. everyone in paris has been told to get in. the subways have been shut down,
as you've been reporting the borders have been shut down. no one in, no one out. that's what president hollande has been basically saying, and everyone is to stay inside their homes. we were filming just at the base of the eiffel tower, which is around the 7th arrondissement, and we built a set to lead up to the big climate change agreement hosted here. so we did our broadcast, had the mayor of france and also the french foreign minister was with us, al gore was with us we had a lot of dignitaries, as we walked away. the entire area went in lockdown. social media is unbelievable. you didn't have to be near a tv set to know that something was very, very wrong in paris. people responded just like that into the area, to where barely a
soul was moving. anyone you saw on the street there was not a lot of discussion, but everybody looking waringly, walking hurriedly, and nervously. a lot of folks were looking at us as we were trying to make or way decidedly to you. you could just see it in their eyes. at this point very, very quiet here. we know what we were here to do has been canceled, shut down. the entire area, again w50e6g9 french crews there, american crews and their families there. people working very hard to set this whole thing up. now they're all going to have to stay until someone says they can go. so the feeling here right now is for anyone traveling in paris, visiting, families, i know we've been seeing on twitter that a facebook page has been set up for people to let their families know, and various universities who have students studying have been putting out on twitter,
they have made an accounting of the people that are here studying, students abroad, and letting people know. so there's an awful lot playing out just on people trying to notify their families that they are indeed okay. my friend lit you will right away, that knew we were here, hosting this 24-hour climate reality special. so right now it's the notification to let their family and friends known. phone lines have been different. texting has been going well through the area. every text i've -- phone calls, no, i have a lot of people saying they tried to call and of course couldn't get through. that probably will get better as the evening rolls on, but so far that's the best i can tell you. standstill quiet right now, brian. it just doesn't feel good to be anywhere near the situation tonight. >> sam champion reporting from
paris, foreground of the arc de triomphe right there. 1:30 in the morning, often paris feels like it's just getting started, but not tonight. we're told that president hollande has arrived at the music venue, where we've seen such a horrendous loss of life tonight. where these are concern, while sam was speaking, we saw a figure of 112 dead, including three attackers, but laura haim who remains with us, i'm told the number could be greater than that. >> yes, absolutely. according to our sources we have 118 people at least dead, 118 confirmed by the police people in paris, and according also to our sources, four men arrived inside the theater and began right away to open fire on the
public who were listening this california band. then those four men began to throw grenades into the audience. according to our sources, those four men have been killed. now, we don't know if those four men have been part of the prior attacks in the streets in paris when some men went to some restaurants and began to open fire to some restaurants. that's what we know at this moment. as you pointed out, brian, the french president at this moment is also inside the theater. he's with the prime minister manuel, and is also with the interior minister and also with the justice minister, and is trying to see what happened during this horrible night in paris. >> but it's important, as you pointed out that the french people hearing from their president, and the president apparently feels it's just as important for his motorcade to have the ability to movie
throughout the streets for him to be seen touring this venue, where such a terrible loss of life has taken place. >> yes, i spoke with some french people at this moment, a lot of people in paris at this moment are at home. they're watching the news channel, they want to understand what happened. a lot of people are in complete shock. they're calling their families to make sure that the kids were not at the bataclan tonight. it's a very popular music thinnen thing to go to the bataclan on friday night in paris. the french president wants to be the peacemaker tonight in paris. he wants to show to the french people, i'm here, i'm trying to be there for you, i'm trying to handle the situation, i'm trying to tell you it's fine. it's horrible, but it's -- to be fine. it's a sensitive situation for a political leader to do that,
because it just happened in paris. >> thank you very much. laura has been updating us automatic eveni all evening long. i wish we didn't have to report they figures of dead and wouldn'ted. for music fans following this as well, because after all, this is an american band we're talking about that was give the sold-out concert. the def tones were also in paris to perform tomorrow evening. we assume that will be canceled. they're all accounted for and went. as for members of eagles of death metal, the band that was performing tonight at bataclan, we just don't yet know about their well-being. we will pass that along as soon as we do know. anthony shaffer is with us, former u.s. army intelligence
operative. anthony, where do you begin on something like that? >> brian, i think we need to begin where the french didn't fully do their job with the "charlie hebdo" attack. let's be totally blunt here. this was well planned, well executed. this had to be if not weeks, months in the preparation and brilliantly executed. i think we have to look at the fact that the french did not go far enough to defeat the net cork which conducted the "charlie hebdo" attack. that's something for us to learn a lesson from, as much as anything. the other thing we have to understand here is the french have not been expeditionary working with us in the region, so in many ways i think they're seen as a weak are target than us. i think the french are learning a hard lesson about what's necessary to try to defeat the network. i hope we're paying close attention. i understand from my contacts in the pentagon, they've been
briefed, but the pentagon from my context, brian, has been very concerned that we in the intelligence community has been not been doing as good a job as we should. they were telling me we had better intelligence from the british over the egyptian russian aircraft being downed in the sinai. so that's something we should kerr, how well are we doing with our intelligence collection in light of this. >> do you not think this could have happened in new york with motivated teams? >> that's the issue. i've worked with nypd on a couple different things. they have the most effect i have intelligence-selection system outside the cia on the planet. that said, with a concerted groups who actually understand our system, who understand how to set up logisticses safe ha n have havens, safe houses, it would be
difficult to detect them. i think we need to look closer to europe. well, london may be the next target, and we have to take notice here, brian. if doctor zawahiri,ed lead erbil of al qaeda said about two weeks ago is it's time for all terror groups to come together to attack the west. so this may be a beginning of orb strays of both al qaeda and isis -- i agreed with richard engle's sass assessment. or it could be al qaeda working with isis to expand both their reaches into the west. we have to look carefully at what comes out of the assessment oemp the next few days. >> the scary thing to me, i keep saying as a lay person looking at this is the organic, low-tech, if you will, nature of this. >> absolutely. >> you know, kind of ordinary, granted automatic weapons, but
ordinary fire democrarms, low-t using nails and martyrs as a delivery system. >> it took some leave of sophisticate to at least build the suicide bombs that the bombers wore. those things have signatures. also, brian, we know there's been, quotes/unquote chatter. there was chatter right before the attack of ice sin with the airliner. i think we have to do that, but you're absolutely correct. let's remember, though, that europe is more gun control centric that we are. the fact we had ak-47s floating around that environment tells me they have a sophisticated network supporting this. and i go back to "charlie hebdo." we must go about penetrating a network with old-fashioned intelligence. i have a feeling the french did not go far enough to identifying the whole network to defeat the
network, and i think they're paying unfortunately a very heavy price. >> as for tonight, the french, of course are grieving this terrible loss. the french president at the venue that has seen apparently 100 or more deaths under one roof tonight. evan, you've been listening to this conversation, what do you make of this? these two different al qaeda and isis, and how it's playing out? >> that is one of the questions here. is this part of the al qaeda/isis competition? two groups both claim credit for the january attacks in paris. one of those groups is lying, because it's not possible both of them coordinated the attack. they hate each other. to understand the degree to which they hate each other, you have to look at the publications, not just the once in arabic, but the ones decided
to reach audiences like this. the magazines, they lay out the case whether it's aqap talking about isis or isis talking about aqap, that that group is worse than the understand, they're hypocrites. the idea they're working together i find hard to believe. there is an exception to that, which is there are low-level supporters, just generalized supporters of radical jihad. they may not necessarily make the sophisticated difference between the two groups, and they may not care. the question is, are people like that going to be able to get weapons like this? or come up with a sophisticated plan like this? probably not. as for where did they get the weapons from? look, we've seen this happen previously just within the last year. there is a thriving illegal weapons market inside the europe. there's been a particular problem in belgium, which is directly adjacent to france. we've also seen cells of
individuals bring back weapons from conflict zones, whether in the balkans or syria. again there are land connections that connect france with these conflict zones. we've seen jihadist leaders in europe order people to bring back particular weapons with them from there behave fact it's difficult to get the weapons. it's difficult, but not impossible. so just because they have those kinds of guns doesn't mean it's necessarily ordered or coordinated. it's likely,ist possible, but we don't know that yet. there's no single factor here that would tell us it's definitely al qaeda in yemen, it's definitely isis or even definitely an organized terrorist group, be yond just a group of individuals.
look at boston, look at the boston bombings, you had two guys there who were about the biggest losers you could come up with, using a magazine in english that they al qaeda in yemen without ever speaking to anyone from al qaeda in yemen, these guys came up with a real terrorist plot and hurt and killed quite a number of people. so just remember, two guys with no connections to al qaeda or isis did that. they were able to build bombs that killed and wounded a whole bunch of people. it doesn't take direct connections to terrorism to make you into a mass murderer. >> evan kohlmann, thank you for that. andrea mitchell listening along with us. this graphic at the bottom of the screen, some attackers used kalashnikov rifles. hard to find in paris. not impossible to find. >> not impossible. evan makes such a good point. i mean, that was a pressure cooker in boston. and no central command and control. we shouldn't jump to any conclusions about isis or al
qaeda even though it may be one or the other. certainly not working together. i wanted to just make a point there is in this era of social media no time out for politics. while people are grieving, while the dead are being recovered, while france, our oldest and closest ally, is being -- is under siege, donald trump has tweeted, "isn't it interesting that the tragedy in paris took place in one of the toughest gun control countries in the world." and that drew a direct message from gerard rau, a french ambassador to the united states. a diplomat now getting involved in american politics. he wrote back to donald trump on twitter, "this message is repugnant in its lack of any human decency. vulture." i've never seen a diplomat responding to a presidential candidate. but this is a candidate who went on twitter in the middle of a national crisis for one of our
closest allies. >> and a national crisis indeed. we're just catching up with some of these reports. belgium is agreeing to fortify its border and help france kind of shut things down and look for anyone trying to leave. 1,500 extra military have been brought into paris. and indeed i mentioned this earlier. there was a photo on social media someone took from an apartment above one of the military vehicles coming into the city, and it looked for all the world like wartime. our msnbc military analyst kevin barron is with us. he happens to be the executive editor of "defense one" and of course they cover defense issues for a living. kevin, there had been some talk that the drone attack on this so-called jihadi john may account for the timing of this.
but you have some thoughts on that question. >> reporter: i heard from the joint chiefs of staff and also from a senior defense official, both saying that -- at least later today, leading up to this, they were not tracking any chatter at that level about a specific retaliatory attack for jihadi john. which would lead people that think that this was something spontaneous as opposed to something much larger and coordinated and preplanned as we've been starting to get more of a sense of throughout the day. that doesn't mean that there's no intelligence saying that's the case. it just means that at that level this was a surprise to them. >> generally, what are you hearing about chatter, what our viewing public has come to know as chatter meaning the talk on social media, signals intelligence is able to monitor about this incident tonight? >> the u.s. has gotten very good at monitoring terrorism chatter
throughout the world, more so than most people realize. and for something like this this is less a case at looking ahead of time at the open source. that tends to come afterward with the reactions. for the case of jihadi john, for example, isis themselves coming out on twitter and their own websites to confirm his death is one of the factors, one of the ways the pentagon will do that versus on the ground human intelligence. there is dark web chatter as well. there's human intelligence. they've become very good at this. >> i don't mean to interrupt, but here is president hollande at street level in paris with simultaneous translation, i'm told. >> translator: even though today it is under the shock of such attacks. so we're going to try to get a better audio from the statement from the president francois hondaee who is at the bataclan
club. remember the elite team launched their assault a while ago and recovered three terrorists and a number of french persons. with them now at the bataclan. so here -- >> what we're listening to now is our french counterpart, whoever is hosting there, coverage today tonight talking about that very quick statement by president hollande outside the bataclan, the music venue there now. switching to a street reporter talking about it. but the president notably, just think about it, 1:58 a.m. imagine seeing barack obama at 2:00 in the morning show up to
the scene of a terrorist attack, god forbid, in washington, d.c. where there had been a terrible loss of life. this is a very dramatic public gesture during a very dramatic time for the nation of france and for the city of paris. and as we look at the pictures outside the bataclan, sadly it's all ambulances lined up and police cars lined up. laura hyme is still with us, the white house correspondent for the french television network canal plus. laura, what can you add? >> reporter: as you pointed out, that the french president is at this moment live on the scene. according to our sources for canal plus, what people were looking at this terrorist attack are saying is that it was coordinated and very sophisticated attack. and basically, and we know that now with the timing.
when there were explosion outside the stadium of france in which the french president was, a little bit at the center, 15 minutes later inside paris there were the attack in the restaurant. we don't know at this moment precisely how many attackers there were. we know that there were two suicide bombers, one or two suicide bombers detonating themselves with belt with explosive and also a gas tank outside the stadium of france, and then in paris 10 kilometers away from the stadium of france you have other attackers with kalashnikov, with rifles went to some restaurant and opened fire and then some people went after to the bataclan, the theater,
where you have a lot of young people, that's what we we learned, a lot of young people between 20 and 25 years old were coming because there was an american concert there with an american band. the people i spoke with are concerned about two fundamental questions. who were the attackers and were they french. were they french citizens like the people who committed attacks against "charlie hebdo"? that's at this moment the big question for the investigation team. >> and laura, let's point out that since you cover the american president you know it's not uncommon for the obama motorcade to run close to 20 vehicl vehicles, rooftops covered with sniper teams and so on and so on. manhole covers welded shut in advance of a presidential visit. the french president has traditionally had much less
security, a much smaller footprint as he travels the streets of paris. do you think this was intended to harm him or intended to be a kind of bold attack right outside the boundary of the stadium where he was watching the soccer match? >> reporter: according to our sources it was not an attack against the president. it was outside the stadium. and again, we're talking about two to three explosions outside the stadium during the soccer game. and it's like during the big world game season -- big baseball game, the world series. the final of the world series. the president is inside the world series. that was what happened tonight in the stadium. francois hollande was watching the game. it was france against germany.
everybody in paris also was watching this game on tv. and the explosions happened outside the stadium. and again, according to my sources, it was not an attack against the president, but he has been very quickly evacuated. now, i want to point something also, which is to point out something which is quite important. the fact that the french president compared to the american president changed his security in the recent months after the attacks against "charlie hebdo." he's heavily protected. but the french president, when he's moving inside paris, he's trying to be invisible. he doesn't have 20 cars. he had one cars or two cars. sometimes he's going by himself on the motorcycle to do things. the protection in the french system around the presidency is completely different than the secret services here in